Insurance companies have been using the Social Security Death Master File to determine when an annuitant died and they could stop paying the annuity. However, they were not using the very same database to determine when a policy holder died and a payment was due to the beneficiary.
Now that they are being forced to do that, do your part. Take a moment right now to update your beneficiary contact information. You may find that the named beneficiary is an ex-spouse or some other person that you really don't want to have a payday upon your death. You may also find the the named beneficiary has alredy died. So check not only the name, but also the address and telephone number that is listed.
Of course it's also important that the beneficiary know about the policy and who it's through. Make a list of all your assets including if you have a safe deposit box, which bank it's through, the branch, the box number and where the keys are kept. The list is important because people may remember that there is a policy, but not who it's through.
Grab a calculator and check out how much money the US Post office has found since 2007. It isn't a bailout, but this money can save many jobs. I notified my local post office of their missing money listings. It's still there. That was a couple years ago.
I wonder if these funds became unclaimed because they never got delivered. BTW, every branch of the government has missing money.